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Case Name

Procedure for Return of Child, Case No. 1313/2007, instituted by A.C. B.I. against P.R.I.P

INCADAT reference

HC/E/MX 1039





Sala Novena del Supremo Tribunal de Justicia del Estado de Jalisco


Appellate Court

Hugo Olveda Colunga, Alfredo Gonzalez Becerra, Jaime Cedeño Coral

States involved

Requesting State


Requested State




15 April 2008




Aims of the Convention - Preamble, Arts 1 and 2 | Grave Risk - Art. 13(1)(b) | Objections of the Child to a Return - Art. 13(2) | Settlement of the Child - Art. 12(2) | Human Rights - Art. 20 | Procedural Matters


Return ordered

HC article(s) Considered

1 3 7 13(1)(b) 13(2) 20 12(2) 26

HC article(s) Relied Upon

13(1)(b) 13(2) 12(2) 26

Other provisions


Authorities | Cases referred to


Published in


INCADAT comment

Exceptions to Return

Child's Objection
Requisite Age and Degree of Maturity


Summary available in EN | ES


The application related to a girl born in Mexico in 1997. The parents divorced in Switzerland and in the context of those proceedings they reached agreement as regards the care of the child; the mother was to have custody, the father access, whereby he would have the child for 4 weeks during the summer, alternate Christmas vacations and half of all other school vacations.

The father returned to Mexico. Following an access visit the father retained the girl, claiming that she wished to remain with him. The mother contacted the Swiss Central Authority requesting the return of the child.

On 14 November 2007 the Ninth Family Judge of the First Judicial District declined to order the return of the child on the basis that it would be detrimental to her since she had become integrated into her new social environment and had stated clearly objection to the return. The mother appealed.


Appeal allowed and return ordered; the retention had been wrongful and none of the exceptions had been established to the standard required under the Convention.


Aims of the Convention - Preamble, Arts 1 and 2

The purpose of the Convention is to guarantee the immediate return of wrongfully removed and retained children.

Grave Risk - Art. 13(1)(b)

The court understood that the opposition to the return and the mere allegation of the existence of an imminent physical or psychological danger or the possibility of exposing the girl to an intolerable situation were not enough. The extremes foreseen by Article 13(1)(b) of the Convention must be proven by the party that invokes them.

The Court further noted that experts, whether psychologists, welfare workers or professionals of the Custody Department of the Family State Council of Jalisco, had no legal standing to oppose the return of an abducted child. The opinions of such experts did not constitute proof, all the more so since in the present case they had made no reference to any physical or psychological danger or to any intolerable situation.

Objections of the Child to a Return - Art. 13(2)

The Court noted that under Art. 582 of the Civil Code of the State of Jalisco only the views of children aged over fourteen would be considered. In the present case the girl was ten years old, and therefore not mature enough to express an opinion on matters of such importance.

Settlement of the Child - Art. 12(2)

The appellate court noted that the trial judge was not entitled to consider the issue of settlement and should have ordered the return of the child forthwith because the return proceedings had commenced before the expiry of the 12 month time limit provided for in Article 12.  It was irrelevant that the child had ultimately been living in Mexico for two years by the time the judgment was handed down.

Human Rights - Art. 20

Having considered existing Mexican case law, the Court noted that Article 20 which allows a judge to refuse a return when to do so would conflict with the basic principles of Mexican law regarding the protection of human rights and basic freedom rights, was not applicable.

This was because Mexican law, provides that the child should be with the mother since the latter had been awarded custody. Moreover, it was with the mother where conditions for growth, stability, love, education and other necessary elements were present for the proper development, maturity and evolution of the girl.

Procedural Matters

It was noted that were the father not to seek the immediate execution of the return order this would nevertheless be ordered and he would bear the cost of the girl's travel expenses, as well as any expenses associated with appointing a psychologist to accompany the child, were this deemed necessary.

INCADAT comment

First Instance Ruling. 14 November, 2007. Ninth Family Judge of the First Legal Party of Guadalajara, Jalisco. Judge: Agustín Flores Balderrama.

Hierarchy of Treaties
As stated in Article 133 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States and the jurisprudence of the Nation's Honorable Supreme Court of Justice, International Treaties (including the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction), have equal standing in the legislative hierarchy to the Constitution.

In accordance with Article 133 judges must adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the supremacy and validity of the agreements contained in such Conventions. This is the case notwithstanding the content of any law or Code, including the Law of Legal Protection, for such laws occupy an inferior position in the legislative hierarchy.

Political Constitution of the United Mexican States

Seventh Title General Provisions

Article 133. This Constitution, and the laws enacted by the Congress of the Union which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties held or which shall be held by the President of the Republic, with the Senate's consent shall be the supreme law of the Union. The judges of each state shall abide to said constitution, laws and treaties, notwithstanding the provisions to the contrary which may have the constitutions and laws of the states.

Requisite Age and Degree of Maturity

Article 13(2) does not include a minimum age from which the objections of a child must be ascertained, rather it employs the formula that the child must have ‘attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.'  Nevertheless it was the intention of the drafters that the exception would be primarily directed towards teenagers who were not prepared to go back to their home State.

Undoubtedly influenced by domestic family law practice, different patterns emerged in Contracting States as to the manner in which this exception has been applied.  Moreover those patterns may have evolved in jurisdictions during the life span of the application of the Convention, particularly as greater recognition has been paid to children as legal actors in their own right.  Indeed in the European Union, at least as regards intra-EU abductions, there is now an obligation that a child is given an opportunity to be heard, unless this appears inappropriate having regard to his age or maturity: Council Regulation 2201/2003, Art. 11(2).

The issue of age and maturity is also closely inter-related with the threshold applied to the exception, that is to say the criteria used to determine the circumstances in which it may be appropriate to take a child's objections into account, see for example: Re T. (Abduction: Child's Objections to Return) [2000] 2 FLR 192 [INCADAT cite HC/E/UKe 270]; Zaffino v. Zaffino [2006] 1 FLR 410 [INCADAT cite HC/E/UKe 813]; W. v. W. 2004 S.C. 63 IH (1 Div) [INCADAT cite: HC/E/UKs 805]; White v. Northumberland [2006] NZFLR 1105, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/NZ 902].


H.Z. v. State Central Authority [2006] Fam CA 466, INCADAT cite: HC/E/AU 876

8 year old expressed objections which went beyond the mere expression of a preference or of ordinary wishes, however, in the light of her age and degree of maturity it would not be appropriate to take account of her views.

Director-General, Department of Families, Youth and Community Care v. Thorpe (1997) FLC 92-785 INCADAT cite: HC/E/AU 212]

Objections of 9 year old upheld


4 UF 223/98, Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/DE 820]

No fixed age limit.  The 8 year old concerned lacked sufficient maturity.

93 F 178/98 HK, Familengericht Flensburg (Family Court), 18 September 1998, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/DE 325]

Objections of 6 year old gathered, but not upheld. 


In the Matter of M. N. (A Child) [2008] IEHC 382, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/IE 992

Detailed assessment of the age at which the views of a child should be heard in the light of Article 11(2) of the Brussels II a Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003).  Order made that the views of a 6 year old be ascertained.

New Zealand

U. v. D. [2002] NZFLR 529, INCADAT cite: HC/E/NZ 472

Objections of 7 year old considered, but not upheld.


5P.1/2005 /bnm, Bundesgericht, II. Zivilabteilung (Tribunal Fédéral, 2ème Chambre Civile), [INCADAT cite: HC/E/CH 795

No minimum age.  Children aged 9 1/2 and 10 ½ heard, but their objections were not upheld.

5P.3/2007 /bnm, Bundesgericht, II. Zivilabteilung, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/CH 894

A child would have the requisite maturity if he was able to understand the nature of the return proceedings. It was not possible to give general guidance as to the minimum age from which a child would be able to deal with such an abstract issue. The Court noted however that research in the field of child psychology suggested a child would only be capable of such reasoning from the age of 11 or 12.  The court of appeal had therefore been entitled not to gather the views of children, then aged 9 and 7.

United Kingdom - England & Wales

Re W (Minors) [2010] EWCA 520 Civ, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/UKs 1324

Objections of siblings aged 8 and almost 6 upheld.

The Court accepted that the objections of a child of 6 falling within the exception would have been outside the contemplation of the drafters.  However, Wilson L.J. held that: "...over the last thirty years the need to take decisions about much younger children not necessarily in accordance with their wishes but at any rate in the light of their wishes has taken hold... ."

United Kingdom - Scotland

N.J.C. v. N.P.C. [2008] CSIH 34, 2008 S.C. 571, [INCADAT cite: HC/E/UKs 996

Views of 9 ½ year old not gathered; objections of her 15 and 11 year old siblings not upheld.

W. v. W. 2004 S.C. 63 IH (1 Div) [INCADAT cite: HC/E/UKs 805]

9 year old not of sufficient maturity to have her views considered - decision of trial judge reversed.

United States

Blondin v. Dubois, 238 F.3d 153 (2d Cir. 2001) INCADAT cite: HC/E/USf 585]

No minimum age at which objections of a child can be ascertained.  Objections of 8 year old, within the context of an Art. 13(1)b) assessment, upheld.

Escobar v. Flores 183 Cal. App. 4th 737 (2010), [INCADAT cite: HC/E/USs 1026]

No minimum age at which objections of a child can be ascertained.  Objections of 8 year old upheld.


La solicitud se refiere a una niña nacida en México en el año 1997. En el marco de un proceso de divorcio llevado a cabo en Suiza, se celebró una audiencia en la cual los padres llegaron a un acuerdo relativo a la custodia de la niña. En virtud del mismo, la custodia sería detentada por la madre, gozando el padre de un régimen de visitas y tendría a la niña 4 semanas durante las vacaciones en verano, las vacaciones de navidad serían alternadas y estaría con él la mitad de las otras vacaciones escolares.

El padre regresó a México. En oportunidad de una visita, el padre retiene a la niña, aduciendo que ella había manifestado su deseo de permanecer en México. La madre se presentó entonces ante la Autoridad Central de Suiza solicitando la restitución de su hija.

El 14 de noviembre de 2007, el Juez Noveno de lo Familiar del Primer Partido Judicial rechazó la restitución de la niña, por considerar que el reintegro de la niña a Suiza sería perjudicial, ya que se encontraba integrada a su nuevo entorno social y manifestaba una clara oposición al reintegro. La madre apeló la resolución.


Apelación concedida, restitución ordenada; la retención había sido indebida y no se encontraban configurados los supuestos de excepción previstos por el Convenio.


Finalidad del Convenio - Preámbulo, arts. 1 y 2

La finalidad del Convenio consiste en garantizar la restitución inmediata de los menores retenidos de manera ilícita.

Integración del niño - art. 12(2)
El tribunal de apelaciones entendió que el Juez de primera instancia no estaba habilitado para considerar el tema del arraigo de la niña y que debió haber ordenado la restitución inmediata de la niña, dado que el procedimiento de restitución comenzó antes del vencimiento del plazo de 12 meses previsto por el Artículo 12. El hecho de que la menor haya estado viviendo en México durante dos años desde que se inició el proceso de restitución es irrelevante.

Grave riesgo - art. 13(1)(b)

El Tribunal entendió que no basta con la oposición al reintegro y la mera manifestación de la existencia de un peligro inminente físico o psíquico o la posibilidad de que la niña quede expuesta a una situación intolerable. Los extremos previstos por el Art. 13 inc. b del Convenio deben ser probados por quien los invoca.

Asimismo, estableció que los expertos, sean psicólogos, asistentes sociales o profesionales del Departamento de Custodia del Consejo Estatal de Familia de Jalisco, no tienen legitimación para oponerse al reintegro. Su opinión es solo eso, y no constituye una prueba, máxime cuando en el caso no hicieron referencia a ningún peligró físico o psíquico o a alguna situación intolerable.

Objeciones del niño a la restitución - art. 13(2)

El Código Civil del Estado de Jalisco establece en su Art. 582 que se oirá el parecer del menor cuando este tenga más de catorce años de edad. En el presente caso, la niña tenía diez años y en consecuencia carecía de la madurez suficiente como para expresar su opinión en asuntos de esa envergadura.

Integración del niño - art. 12(2)


Derechos humanos - art. 20

El Tribunal, con un criterio concordante al que surge de otras resoluciones adoptadas por Tribunales mexicanos, estableció que no resulta aplicable la excepción dispuesta por el Art. 20 que permite al juez rechazar restitución cuando así lo establezcan los principios fundamentales del derecho mexicano en materia de protección de derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales.

Ello en virtud de que el propio derecho mexicano establece que la niña debe estar con de su madre pues a ella se le confió la custodia, y es precisamente junto a ella donde se dan las condiciones de desarrollo, estabilidad, amor, educación y demás elementos necesarios para el correcto desenvolvimiento, madurez y  evolución de la niña.

Cuestiones procesales

Se estableció que, si el padre de la niña no procedía a la ejecución inmediata de la sentencia, se procedería a la ejecución forzada de la misma, debiendo el padre hacerse cargo de los gastos de traslado de la niña, así como de los gastos y honorarios de un psicólogo que la acompañe, en caso de ser ello necesario.

Comentario INCADAT

Sentencia de Primera Instancia. 14 de noviembre de 2007. Juzgado Noveno de lo Familiar del Primer Partido Judicial de Guadalajara, Jalisco. Juez: Lic. Agustín Flores Balderrama.

Jerarquía de los tratados
Tal como lo establecen el Art. 133 de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos y la jurisprudencia de la Honorable Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, los Tratados Internacionales (entre ellos el Convenio de La Haya de 1980 sobre los Aspectos Civiles de la Sustracción Internacional de Menores), tienen igual jerarquía legislativa que la Constitución.

En términos del citado artículo constitucional, los jueces deben adoptar las medidas necesarias para asegurar la supremacía y vigencia de los pactos contenidos en este tipo de Convenios, a pesar de lo que haya dispuesto en contrario en cualquier ley o Código, incluyendo naturalmente a la Ley de Amparo, pues la jerarquía de ésta es la inmediata inferior a la constitución y a los convenios internacionales.

Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos

Titulo Séptimo Prevenciones Generales

Articulo 133. Esta Constitución, las leyes del Congreso de la Unión que emanen de ella y todos los tratados que estén de acuerdo con la misma, celebrados y que se celebren por el Presidente de la República, con aprobación del Senado, serán la ley suprema de toda la Unión. Los jueces de cada estado se arreglaran a dicha constitución, leyes y tratados, a pesar de las disposiciones en contrario que pueda haber en las constituciones o leyes de los estados.

Edad y grado de madurez requeridos

Traducción en curso. - Por favor remítase a la versión inglesa.